Objective: Musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSUS) in rheumatology in the US has advanced by way of promotion of certifications and standards of use and inclusion of core fellowship curriculum. In order to inform endeavors for curricular integration, the objectives of the present study were to assess current program needs for curricular incorporation and the teaching methods that are being employed. Methods: A needs-assessment survey (S1) was sent to 113 rheumatology fellowship program directors. For programs that taught MSUS, a curriculum survey (S2) was sent to lead faculty. Programs were stratified according to program size and use of a formal written curriculum. Results: S1 (108 of 113 respondents; response rate 96%) revealed that 94% of programs taught MSUS, with 41% having a curriculum. Curricular implementation was unaffected by program size. Formal curricular adoption of MSUS was favored by 103 directors (95.3%), with 65.7% preferring such adoption to be optional. S2 (74 of 101 respondents; response rate 73%) showed that 41% of programs utilized a formal curriculum. Multiple teaching strategies were used, with content that was generally similar. Use of external courses, including the Ultrasound School of North American Rheumatologists course, was prevalent. Fewer barriers were noted compared to past surveys, but inadequate time, funding, and number of trained faculty still remained. Lack of divisional interest (P = 0.046) and interest of fellows (P = 0.012) were noted among programs without a formal curriculum. Conclusion: MSUS is taught by a significantly larger number of rheumatology fellowship programs today. Multiple teaching strategies are used with common content, and barriers still remain for some programs. Most program directors favor inclusion of a standardized MSUS curriculum, with many favoring inclusion to be optional.
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